The I word – Preparing for Interviews

Posted on: 03/12/2008

Written by James Bunyan

Most of us are going to university soon and some are going out into the world of work or on a gap year, but whatever you’re going to be doing after college you will probably have to suffer an interrogation of some sort.

Well just to help you out, I’ve put together, after gruelling research, some “Do’s”, “Don’ts” and some “You twerp, are you insane’s”. I hope it helps, but remember that if you gain an interview then they already think of you as a prime catch: they’re either reeling you in or trying to find out more about you specifically.


  • Do some research before you turn up to the interview, about the uni or business. It shows that you take an interest. Plus there’s nothing worse than them asking what you want out of the course, and you say “I’ve always wanted to work with animals” when you’re applying to be a butcher. You’ll look a right fool.
  • Read what they send you. Again, it shows you take an interest and you may miss something really important, like bring your PJs for an all-nighter.
  • Make use of careers advisors, parents and other people who can help you practice an interview, asking questions you may have to answer there. Don’t run off a load of mechanised learnt answers though, it is better to be more relaxed and natural. Practice not saying ‘like’ and ‘innit’ every other word.
  • Smile, or they’ll think you’re a grumpy fart.
  • Ask some questions, showing that you’re keen and you are actually considering studying there, but relevant questions that they will actually want to answer such as: “How do people find the transition to HE?”  Asking about their favourite meat flavours or why their uncle is in prison is not clever.
  • It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. Smart dress is necessary for a university interview, suit for any other kind, and, similarly, girls; something formal. “We want people to look smart,” says Susan Matthews, an admissions tutor for University of East Anglia. Simple, dark trousers or skirt with an ironed shirt is best. Take a spare pair of tights in your handbag, in case you get a ladder. Girls should do the same.
  • Read any books you are meant to in advance. Note the book’s key ideas and opinions , as you may have to discuss them. You can disagree with them as it’s good to have an opinion.



  • Clothes- Please note
    • No heavy makeup or excessive smellies (with either sex)
    • No mini-skirts and stilettos
    • Body piercing is best taken out if possible
    • Guys should be wearing sensible shoes carrying a briefcase instead of a rucksack
    • No capes
    • No clashing or overly bright colours
    • No bling or funny ties (often the same thing)
    • Hair based on Chewbacca is frowned upon
    • Naturists – Don’t bother coming
  • Don’t argue with everything the tutor says. “Good Morning”- “No it’s not” is not debate, just being annoying.
  • Don’t be late, or if you have to be late or miss the appointment let them know in advance. They’ll probably be sympathetic and organise another date if it’s something serious, like your arms will fall off next Thursday. It’s also worth finding out how to get there in advance. If the worst comes to the worst, phone them on your mobile with 10 minutes to go and grovel.
  • Don’t pick your nose and wipe it on the interviewer.
  • Don’t Lie. They’re very difficult to keep up in the long run. Be honest and open, as they can easily check up on your lies. If you say you’ve read a book you haven’t, they’ll ask you about it, which will be morosely embarrassing when all you have to say is: “It had a shiny blue cover and I like the way the paper smelled all new when I put my face in it.”
  • If they offer you coffee don’t ask for tea or vice-versa. If they had it they would have offered it already. Neither pour it on their lap/cat/PC/eye.

Good luck!

For further reading from the PUSH site, click below:



Have you been for any interviews yet? How did they go? Add your tips and comments below.


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